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seven year drought

Re: seven year drought
February 23, 2017 03:34PM
Why is the soil in S. Oklahoma red(from iron, no doubt)? Strangely, it seems to start at the Red River and spread northward. Jim
Re: seven year drought
February 23, 2017 09:33PM
jgoodman Wrote:
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> Why is the soil in S. Oklahoma red(from iron, no
> doubt)? Strangely, it seems to start at the Red
> River and spread northward. Jim

Jim, you are correct that the red soil contains iron (as iron oxide, or iron rust, hematite, and related oxidized iron compounds). MOST though not all of Oklahoma has red soil. Thus "red dirt" is a term that has made its way into the popular lexicon in many contexts. But Texas has its share of red soil, including in much of NW Texas, where the Permian Red Beds occur near the surface. N. Central Texas also has some red soil localities, notably in areas occupied by the Cross Timbers such as eastern Denton County.

Even the rivers in Oklahoma are red, and not just the Red River itself. Some in Texas are also, particularly the Canadian, the Brazos and the upper Colorado.

FWIW, here is a technical treatment of the soils of Oklahoma.
[www.ogs.ou.edu]

Dave McNeely
Re: seven year drought
February 24, 2017 12:36PM
Dave, you're right about the "red water" in Oklahoma. I think of Lake Eufala, on the Canadian River. Most of it frequently appears red
Re: seven year drought
May 01, 2017 05:53PM
jgoodman Wrote:
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> In O.C., things seemed to be status quo. All I can
> remember was our brown St. Augustine yard and my
> mother fretting over having to drink and bath in
> water from the Trinity. I do remember getting
> abundant chigger bites and having to bath in a tub
> with 2 inches of water and creosote. I smelled
> like a telephone poll. Jim

Reportedly there were signs in Fort Worth public rest rooms during the period when Dallas CONSIDERED (I don't think they ever actually implemented the proposal) using main stem Trinity River water for drinking. The signs supposedly read, "Flush twice, Dallas needs the water."

Dave McNeely
Re: seven year drought
May 06, 2017 08:47AM
According to a friend who grew up in Duncan OK, that red water is murder on white tshirts. it's apparently harder to remove that red stain than either mustard or grass stains.
I live in Collin County now, right in the big middle of the Houston Black Clay.and can personally attest to the amount of soil shrinkage around here. Things have improved since the drought broke a couple of years ago, but one summer about five years ago I tried to measure a crack in my yard and couldn't hit bottom with an old folding ruler. I've almost given up on gardening in the ground and gone to containers. That old clay is really hard on old timers

Victoria Snyder Alvey
Re: seven year drought
May 06, 2017 11:02AM
Victoria, you are correct that the black gumbo is a challenge for gardening (and farming, special techniques required). However, it is among the most productive soils in the world when handled correctly. Keeping it evenly moist is one essential approach, and of course for an urban gardener, that may run into municipal code violations during a drought. Addition of goodly amounts of organic material is another major step toward success. Both my father and father-in-law always produced ample crops in their large gardens, and container growing or raised beds would have been a passing strange approach to both of them.

They grew their plants in the ground, tilled with a rotor tiller. Every fall my father planted a mixed cover crop of turnips, rye grass, and black eyed peas. He planted the peas too late in the year for them to mature, and the plants were killed by the first freeze. He tilled all these into the soil in December, planted rye again, and tilled again in March.

My father-in-law lived near Waxahachie. He obtained manure from a nearby dairy and cotton burs from a gin. He supplemented with cotton seed meal purchased from a feed store. He tilled all this in in the fall, then sowed turnips and rye, which he tilled in in the early spring.

Their production was "bodaceous." They only had black gumbo soil, and at at least two locations, gardened on the White Rock Escarpment, where the soil was not only black and sticky, but was quite thin and mixed with limestone chips.

Though I did not know the details of her approaches, my aunt in Greenville, TX gardened on black gumbo, and I do know that she fed her family out of the garden, buying only items that she could not grow, like flour and sugar. Her flower garden was as impressive as the vegetable crops she produced. She lived at the end of an unpaved roadway that one could not drive down when it was wet. I remember walking from the pavement about a mile away and having to stop every few steps to clean the massive mudballs off my feet so I could continue. My aunt kept a mule for transportation during wet periods.

Dave McNeely
Re: seven year drought
May 27, 2017 08:53AM
My husband's grandfather, who lived in Hunt County his entire life, had an amazing garden every year with the help of his chickens. He had enclosed runs at each end of the chicken house and alternated year by year so the garden spot had the benefit of a year of "activity" in the run. We're pretty sure he didn't come up with this on his own, having seen variations of it elsewhere ourselves. I thought maybe a wartime victory garden handbook, as those depression era and WW2 government publications were full of advice along those lines.

Victoria Snyder Alvey
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